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Ancient wall plate used by royals excavated in eastern Türkiye

Archaeologists in Van, eastern Türkiye, have discovered an intact bronze wall plate believed to be used ornamentally by ancient Urartian royalty during the Iron Age.

Overlooking the scenic Lake Van roughly 200 meters (about 655 feet) below, excavations of new sites at Ayanis Castle found the decorated plate of bronze that experts say adorned the walls and doors of the royal family.

Digging and restoration work at the site of the castle, which was built during the reign of King Rusa II (680-639 BCE), have been going on for over three decades, revealing one of the grandest Urartian structures found so far with mudbrick walls and stone engravings dating back 2,700 years.

Four new interconnected rooms were unearthed on the northern slope of the hill on which the castle is being excavated under the direction of archaeologists Mehmet Isikli in the district of Tuspa in Van province.

Isikli, who is also an academic at Ataturk University, said his team encountered very surprising findings at this part of the castle dig site.

“There are rows of interconnected room groups… Many findings, particularly ceramics, were uncovered in the rooms. Numerous groups of wooden structures were found. These provide us with important information on the details of the architecture, but we haven’t yet determined what they were used for.”

Excited by the “unique” bronze wall plate, Isikli said it was the only specimen of its kind that has been unearthed in one piece, unlike fragments that had been found on previous occasions.

The plate was likely used for architectural ornamentation, he added.

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